Press Release: Festival Accepting Food Vendor Applications-7/2/2012

BEST OF THE BAYOU ACCEPTS FOOD VENDOR APPLICATIONS

Houma, LA- Best of the Bayou Festival is now accepting applications for vendors interested in selling food at the event, scheduled for Sept. 29-30 in Downtown Houma. An anticipated twenty booths will line the Courthouse Square on two sides, along Church and Goode Streets. Applications will be accepted until July 31, 2012, and space will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The festival will supply the food tents, along with signage, some electricity, security and vendor hospitality and parking. Pricing and additional details, along with the booth rental application, are available for printing or download from the festival’s website at www.bestofthebayou.org.

Louisiana-based restaurants, licensed caterers and civic organizations are eligible to apply for booth space. Each booth is allowed to sell up to four food items, subject to approval by the festival food committee. Vendors will retain 100% of individual booth sales.

In an effort to best promote Louisiana and the Bayou Region, we ask that awarded vendors use Louisiana–made or locally-grown food, such as seafood, fruits and vegetables, seasonings, and the like.  Best of the Bayou is a non-profit event, with all proceeds, such as food booth fees, going back into the production and sustainment of the festival.

For more information, interested vendors can also email info@bestofthebayou.org or call the Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce office at 985-876-5600.

Lori’s Best of the Bayou Update-7/1/2012

Hello, readers!  Can anyone tell me what happened to June?!  It’s hard to believe it is already July, and that as of today, Best of the Bayou is only 89 days away! So much has happened; yet, there’s so much left to do!  I guess this is a good time to share with you all a mid-year review of our milestones to date. Let’s recap (briefly), shall we?

It was actually in the final months of 2011 that the concept of a new downtown festival came to life.  It was not long into the New Year that the festival’s name and dates were realized, and full-time planning began.

The onset of spring meant Best of the Bayou’s formal introduction to the world, so to speak.  We issued our first FOCUS Bulletin and news release(s), and launched our website. The month of May alone proved to be important as we debuted our “Friends of the Festival” program (and gained a few!).  On a side note, we’ve also gained nearly 200 friends on Facebook since our debut in May!  Inarguably, though, the biggest milestone then was the signing of our first three headliners for the festival.  And we’ve signed a dozen more bands, with more to come!

Another milestone to date is the completion of our contest for the inaugural festival poster.  We received a total of eleven entries (not bad for a first-time festival!), most of them paintings from local artists.  The contest was open to professional and amateur artists ages 16 and older from the bayou parishes.  The winning artist will be announced soon!

Like I said, so much has happened these past several months!  Moving on to important news at present, Best of the Bayou is now accepting applications for vendors interested in selling food at the festival.  Approximately twenty food booths will be lined along Church and Goode Streets, surrounding the Houma Courthouse Square.  Space will be reserved and accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis until Tuesday, July 31, 2012. Louisiana Restaurant Association members are encouraged to apply.  Non-profit and civic organizations are also welcome to apply.  The festival will supply the food tents, along with signage, some electricity and other items.  Pricing and all details, along with the application for rent, are available for printing or download from our website at www.bestofthebayou.org.

Artists and craftsmen also interested in renting space at the festival can contact Brandi Lecompte of the Gulf Coast Marketplace, an official partner of Best of the Bayou.  Brandi can be reached by phone at 985-868-2620 or by email at brandi@thegulfcoastmarketplace.org.  Applications for rent will be finalized very soon.  Only original art and homemade crafts will be accepted for sale into the festival.

On a final note, Best of the Bayou needs YOU!  We need you to of course “save the date” and always help us “spread the word.” Perhaps more importantly, however, the festival needs a commitment from its community, not necessarily financially, but by way of volunteering.  All planning and preparation aside, BOB, or any festival for that matter, cannot function without assistance and leadership from volunteers, in almost all capacities.  If you would like to volunteer for Best of the Bayou, please contact us by email at info@bestofthebayou.org or call the Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce office at 985-876-5600.

Don’t forget to LIKE us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BestoftheBayou for all the latest festival news or follow us on Twitter @BestoftheBayou.  May everyone have a safe and happy Fourth of July!  We truly live in the best country in the world!

 

 

 

Lori’s Best of the Bayou Update-6/4/12

As we prepare for what’s shaping up to be another sweltering summer in South Louisiana (and unfortunately the official start of hurricane season), preparation for Houma’s newest festival is also heating up. Since my last report, Best of the Bayou has achieved a few “firsts” worth noting — among them, our “Friends of the Festival.”  You may recall from the last report that five friendship levels, which start at $50, allow for individuals or small businesses to invest in the festival and secure it as a free-admission event. I am proud to say we’ve made a few friends, and I want to take this opportunity to say “thank you” (again) to them. This is about the time where a certain theme song comes to mind. Think Betty White and “The Golden Girls.”

Seriously though, I speak on behalf of the Chamber and Best of the Bayou staff, volunteer board and leadership when I say that everyone is dedicated to developing a long-term event that Terrebonne and the bayou region can be proud of, but we can’t do it without the help and financial support of community and corporate partners.

If you’ve decided to be our friend on Facebook (hint, hint) or perhaps checked out our website, you may already know that earlier this month, we announced our first headliners scheduled to play the festival. In case you haven’t heard or read the news, they are Louisiana’s own Marc Broussard and Cowboy Mouth and Ruthie Foster of neighboring Texas. Blues songbirds Broussard and Foster are expected to appear Saturday, Sept. 29, on separate stages, and NOLA rockers Cowboy Mouth will close out the festival at the main stage on Sunday, the 30. Times are not yet confirmed.

Now here’s the part where I tell all of you reading this that we’ve secured a few more headliners. Drum roll please………………… Best of the Bayou proudly welcomes Bonerama, The Gourds, and the Red Stick Ramblers! These artists come to us by way of New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Austin, Texas. (Can you guess which band is from Baton Rouge?) These regionally-bred bands offer an eclectic mix of traditional Cajun, alternative honky-tonk and funky brass beats. Details on all the festival’s bands will be issued via a press release in the coming months; however, more band info can instantly be found on our website, Facebook and YouTube pages. The most important thing to note right now is that the booking of these nationally and regionally-known artists helps put BOB and Houma-Terrebonne on the map, while also showcasing an array of Southern music genres, and possibly introducing festival-goers to artists they hadn’t yet discovered. Some locally-based bands will also be featured at the festival.

Last but not least, I mentioned in my last report that Best of the Bayou was putting together an art contest for the inaugural festival poster. The details have been revealed! The contest is open to professional and amateur artists, ages 16 and up, living in Terrebonne, Lafourche and surrounding bayou parishes.  Various types of artwork are welcome for submission. The winning artist will receive a cash prize. Please go to our website at bestofthebayou.org for full rules and regulations of the contest. The contest ends June 15, so get busy!

Press Release: Poster Contest Details Revealed-5/25/12

The Best of the Bayou is seeking artists to design a poster for the inaugural festival in September.  The contest will be open to professional and amateur artists, ages 16 and older, born or living in Terrebonne, Lafourche, and surrounding bayou parishes.

The general criteria of the contest states the design shall be of professional quality with a theme that visually demonstrates and/or embodies the spirit of the inaugural Best of the Bayou Festival.  There are no specific guidelines for this theme, only that it must be an original artistic interpretation of the best aspects of the bayou – be it the music or food, natural habitat, or colorful history and culture of Louisiana’s Bayou Region or a combination of them all.  The artwork can be abstract; use of the festival logo is not required, and the “Best of the Bayou” words or festival dates and location should not be included on the design. Copyrighted characters, clip art or any other copyrighted images will not be accepted.  All entries must be original works of art and not previously displayed or sold to the public.

Various mediums and types of art are welcome in the contest.  Entries must be a 16” wide x 20” high painting on canvas or a 16” wide x 20” high 600 DPI or vector-based digital file or hard print supported by computer applications for scaling and possible reproduction in festival marketing materials.

The deadline for submissions is Friday, June 15, 2012 at 4p.m.  The winning design will be chosen by a volunteer panel of artists (non-participants), art and design professionals, and event planners.  The winning artist will receive a cash prize of $500.  Best of the Bayou plans to auction the winning entry and display all others in a special gallery at the festival September 29 and 30.

Poster Contest Rules

 

Press Release: New Multi-Day Festival in Downtown Houma-5/9/12

In time for National Travel & Tourism Week, Best of the Bayou issues its first official press release.  Read on for more info!

May 9, 2012

Contact: Lori Toups Benoit

Festival Manager

Email: lori@houmachamber.com

Ph: 985-876-5600

BEST OF THE BAYOU MARKS RETURN OF A MULTI-DAY FESTIVAL IN DOWNTOWN HOUMA

Houma, LA – Planning is underway for a major festival coming late September to historic Downtown Houma. The festival is called Best of the Bayou and will occupy Downtown’s Main Street and surrounding areas for two days—Saturday, September 29 through Sunday, September 30. The festival, which is a free-entry event, will feature the “best of the bayou” in music, food and arts-and-crafts.  Its official mission is to showcase Houma-Terrebonne as a “premier tourist destination through a multi-day celebration of music, food, arts and our unique culture.” Best of the Bayou is the first two-day festival for downtown since the departure of Downtown on the Bayou almost ten years ago.

The re-birth of this downtown festival is the result of funding originating from BP, as part of its multi-million dollar settlement with Louisiana following the 2010 Gulf oil spill. Terrebonne Parish received just over two-million dollars from the Louisiana Office of Tourism to establish and market a number of tourism-related projects, which include a branding campaign, way-finding signage, along with the revival of a festival.  A small portion of that money was designated to seed the festival for 2012 and 2013.

“A signature festival has been long overdue since the loss of the Downtown on the Bayou Festival. The fact that the Houma Chamber has taken on the project of developing this festival is huge for our tourism industry that was affected by the oil spill.  Tourists should have the opportunity to visit Terrebonne Parish and experience the rich culture, music, and food we have to offer in one setting, which is what BOB-Fest will provide,” said Janel Ricca, Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center Director and member of the Terrebonne Parish Tourism Recovery Committee.

To help sustain the festival beyond 2013 and maintain it as a free event, Best of the Bayou–a 501-c3 non-profit organization, will sell beverages on-site and rent booths to food vendors and artisans, who will keep the profits from their sales.  Best of the Bayou has also established a “Friends of the Festival” program, in addition to corporate partnership opportunities. “We want to maintain Best of the Bayou as a free festival, but the event has to be self-sustaining. We appreciate all of the community and corporate support that we’ve received to date. We want to develop a long-term event that Terrebonne Parish can be proud of,” said Chamber President & CEO Drake Pothier.

The blueprint of “BOB-FEST” is still being drafted, but is sure to include two major music stages at east and west points of the grounds, and will feature musicians with national and regional acclaim, as well as local favorites of the bayou region. Existing plans are to surround the Courthouse Square with the main food court, which will highlight almost two dozen restaurants and professional caterers from Louisiana.  The square itself will remain “green” for relaxing and possibly other activities under the ancient oak trees.

Original art and hand-made crafts will be on display via booths near the square on adjacent streets and tentatively other downtown areas.  Only original works will be accepted for exhibition and sale in the festival marketplace. Best of the Bayou is partnering with another non-profit organization, Options for Independence/Gulf Coast Marketplace, to screen and select vendors and manage their applications and on-site needs. Interested and eligible persons should contact Brandi LeCompte at 985-438-1231 or by email at brandi@thegulfcoastmarketplace.org.

For now, potential vendors for food should contact Festival Manager Lori Benoit at 985-876-5600 or via email at festival@houmachamber.com for more information.

Soon the festival will also be accepting nominations for a poster contest. Details will be forthcoming but local and regional artists ages 16 and older will be eligible to compete in the contest to design the first-ever Best of the Bayou poster.

Future updates will be released on the Best of the Bayou website at http://www.bestofthebayou.org, as well as the festival’s official Facebook page, www.facebook.com/bestofthebayou. “Like” us and visit us online often for the most current information on Best of the Bayou.

Lori’s Best of the Bayou Update-5/4/12

Do you ever have one of those days? You know the one where you feel you need more hours in your work day? That is precisely how I’m feeling on MOST days. With five months and counting to Houma’s newest festival, the “to-do” list is expanding; however, a mommy must sleep! Point being, planning for Best of the Bayou is certainly moving at an accelerated rate these days.

Since my first report on the festival in April, we have finalized our “Friends of the Festival” individual sponsor program. This program is vital to sustain the event and to also keep it free to the general public. It’s an idea borrowed from many-a–successful festival!

There are five levels of “friends,” appropriately named after the major bayous of Terrebonne Parish, or the “five fingers,” if you will. Contributions are tax-deductible to the Best of the Bayou Foundation, a 501-c3 non-profit organization and owner of the festival. In exchange and appreciation for donations to the foundation, “Friends of the Festival” will receive various goodies, from t-shirts and other specialty items to VIP all-access passes the weekend of the festival, depending on the amount of the contribution.

On that note, we are also seeking corporate support and partnerships. The Best of the Bayou Festival will be an awesome marketing opportunity for any business. We are estimating attendance by more than 15 thousand people at our inaugural event this fall. Couple a crowd of that size with our state-wide advertising and your brand will be highly visible.

It has been a decade or so since Downtown on the Bayou left its mark; locals still talk about the event and have fond memories of it. The ultimate goal of Best of the Bayou is to also make its mark and leave a lasting, positive imprint on the minds of all stakeholders, be it revelers, crew, volunteers, vendors, or sponsors. Everyone is an investor in the future of the festival!

On the design front, we have made great strides this month in completing revisions to BOB’s website, www.bestofthebayou.org. Some parts of the site are still “under construction,” but will eventually offer festival news, blogs and feeds, online access to festival schedules, stage(s) line-ups and band bookings, food booth applications, and links to our social media sites. I’m proud to announce that the official Facebook page for the festival is up and running! “Like” us and visit us there and on our website often for the most up-to-date information on Best of the Bayou.

Lastly, we plan to conduct a contest to choose an artist for the festival poster. As I’m writing this update, criteria for submissions is being finalized. News on the contest will be released soon. I am excited to see what the contest will bring, as we have so many talented local artists in our area! Until next time, it’s just another busy day in the festival-planning world!

Welcome to our new blog

Thanks for keeping up with the latest Best of the Bayou Festival news. We’ll be regularly posting all of the latest updates from special events to band bookings to sponsorship opportunities. We hope to make this event something that our community and visitors will thoroughly enjoy and more importantly be proud of.

If you have any immediate questions, please e-mail Lori Toups Benoit.

Stay tuned for more details …